Hello, my name is Trynitie Holland. I’m a 41 year old server from the central coast of California. I’ve been in the industry full time since I was 21, seeing a lot come and go in over 20 years. I’ve worked in both corporate chains and privately-owned restaurants. I’ve worked in establishments that are casual (started at Denny’s) and have worked my way up to fine dining in Pebble Beach, CA. Being a country girl and a transplant to San Francisco, CA, serving afforded me the opportunity to support myself and go to school (both in wage and time). I always tried to prepare myself for a time where I wouldn’t be a server (that has yet to come). There also was a time where I became burned out (the job burnout is very real in our industry) and thought I had fallen out of love with the industry that allowed me to spread my wings. So, I started school. Having been a single 20-something without a family financially supporting me as a security net, I would’ve never been able to afford to carry the financial burden of living in San Francisco and affording school without a fair wage. There are a lot of us who don’t have a security net. To the majority of us (that can actually do the job well), the serving industry has become a happy haven. Single parents, students, daytime professionals — we turn to serving to provide a real living with an hourly wage. I was still able to afford to save for a home, a wedding, and other major milestones that those of us who don’t have degrees still deserve to have as humans.
Is it great to have a college degree? You betcha, but it’s not the only way to earn a living. Our job requires strength and skill — skills that not just anyone can do (trust me, I see new people every week who think it must be so easy). There will always be a need for us and, for some reason, servers in other states aren’t given the same respect and opportunity as I have experienced in California. That being said, I’m not sure how servers only earning $2.35 an hour in other states can survive? Being taxed both state and federal out of our checks, it’s not uncommon to get a check that is void because every penny earned went to taxes. I couldn’t even imagine how hard it must be to serve and not receive a fair wage.
In over two decades, I’ve never heard a single owner or manager complaining that they wouldn’t be able to keep their doors open because it cost too much to pay their employees a fair hourly wage. I’ve yet to see a single establishment go under due to those circumstances. They are excuses that owners mumble to pass the buck onto the backs of their employees. There has to be a middle ground for these people who work as hard as any other in their industry, only they happen to have the misfortune of geography. NY and California usually set the standards for our industry and many others. So what happened New York? Time to catch up and be the industry leaders you once were. Thank you for your time and consideration.